In the media // The composer is very much alive, feels fear and celebrates (NRC)

“When I moved from Athens to Amsterdam twenty years ago, Dutch music had an international reputation,” says Aspasia Nasopoulou (49): “Stylish, freedom, and the ensemble culture. There were stages in Amsterdam such as the IJsbreker and the Bethaniënklooster that played a major role in musical life. You no longer have such halls with regular programming for about a hundred people. Music has been injured by cutbacks.”

It creates a 'gap' in the performance chain, Nasopoulou notes, making it more difficult for composers to make the jump to large halls. As artistic director of Orkest De Ereprijs, she therefore set up the 'Aardlek' series in the CODA Museum in Apeldoorn: an informal setting where newly composed music and lectures on current themes come together. She has already commissioned twelve composers. And with Fie Schouten, Nasopoulou started the series 'Nieuwe Noten' in Amsterdam's Plein Theater two and a half years ago, where musicians earn a fixed fee: ''But the future is uncertain. Every year we have to apply for a new subsidy.”

“In my experience you cannot earn a full income as a composer. My income is very variable, often the split with other income is 50/50. I am also a piano teacher. Education and school projects are also a spearhead for De Ereprijs, which was an important reason to apply for the position of artistic director in 2021. It's a huge loss if you don't train your future audience properly."

Nasopoulou herself does not complain: „I get enough opportunities as a composer. What is difficult: there is no money for a project that involves slightly more than just music – for example a video or a small set. You have to look for separate funds, or you pay the creator from your own fee.” A bigger problem is that the Fund for the Performing Arts' budget is insufficient to honor all positively assessed applications. “I am regularly told: good plan, but there is no money.”

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